His and Hers
With just over three weeks remaining until the start of the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales Shiraz, Joanne and Sean Badenhorst of Team TREAD opted for a slightly easier training week to recover from the bigger previous week that culminated in a two-day race. They’re a married couple with full-time work and family commitments. They have been cycling for over 30 years and are tackling some mid-life bicycle riding challenges together. This won’t be their first stage race as teammates; but it will be Joanne’s first Wines2Whales. Sean has done three previously.
I have done three editions of the FNB Wines2Whales. It’s an amazing event and I really wanted my wife Joanne to experience it with me. While it’s been a great motivator for us to train consistently (well, as consistently as possible), it’s also been a source of fear for her.
It’s not the distance that worries her. We have done a Sani2c and a Berg and Bush together where there are longer stages than at Wines2Whales. And she finished those. No, it’s the climbing at Wines2Whales that’s got her on edge.
I must admit, the climbing in my past three participations never really seemed overwhelmingly challenging. But then I was always in pretty good condition and I was always riding with a weaker teammate, which meant either riding the climbs slower, or waiting at the top for my partner to summit. I have never ridden Wines2Whales under pressure. But I have been the weaker rider in a team event once and I now know what that pressure feels like. It’s not an obvious pressure, but it’s a lingering one that’s mostly self-imposed by the weaker rider.
I have reassured her a number of times that she will be fine at Wines2Whales and that the climbing won’t be that bad; but she’s not buying it. This is where, as her teammate, I need to play a strong support role, both emotionally in the build-up and during the event; and physically, during the event. I give her a push from time to time when the terrain/trail allows – partly to give her a bit of relief/a boost and partly because I don’t want to be out there too long… There’s beer, wine, food and socialising to be done in the race village!
Let’s break it down:
Stage 1: 61km with 1900m ascent
Stage 2: 63km with 1500m ascent
Stage 3: 67km with 1400m ascent
TOTAL: 191km with 4800m ascent
I’ll admit, on paper, Stage 1 does look quite intimidating. However, when you consider that you climb 500m in the first 7km on a wide gravel road (where I can push her) and climb 280m while portaging up Gantouw Pass (which everyone has to walk). So that’s 780m already spoken for on two climbs. How bad can the rest of the climbing really be?
I’m going to put in some longer, harder training rides in the last three weeks, just to give myself a physical and emotional boost. I need to be an absolute rock for my teammate during the race and I simply can’t afford to show any kind of weakness. Self-imposed pre-race pressure right there. But that’s okay because I perform best under pressure…
Mine and Joanne’s training for the past six weeks:
|8 weeks to go||115km/4h25m||172km/10h14m|
|7 weeks to go||135km/5h15m||177km/10h43m|
|6 weeks to go||85km/4h2m||159km/9h42m|
|5 weeks to go||273km/11h2m||205km/12h05m|
|4 weeks to go||211km/10h55m||210km/12h59m|
|3 weeks to go||165km/7h5m||128km/8h9m|
Tuesday: 31.63km, 1hr5min FTP test at Power Lab
Wednesday: 30.58km, 1hr01min Power Lab Tempo Session
Thursday: 40.18km, 1hr15min Power Lab HIIT Session
Friday: 10km, 1hr02min Bike Park Bike Test
Sunday: 53.45km, 2hr42min Cradle Riding
Total distance: 165.84km
Total time: 7hr05min
Time is starting to run out now, and I have equal part nervous energy to excited energy. I have completely failed at trying to lose weight, have been struggling to sleep and have had a sore ,aching body for most part of the year. Not the best physical state to be training for a three-day stage race. I feel like, under the circumstances, I have done what I could, but at the same time feel like I am operating at 50% of my capacity. Instead of guessing, I decided to go to the doctor and have some blood tests done, just to rule out the possibility of a deficiency or something.
The results came back, and all was pretty normal. Thyroid is doing what it should and I am not anaemic. However, I am fully menopausal. This did not really surprise me, I do turn 50 in 13 months. I have experienced a few mild symptoms I suppose (including the three above). I will now have to decide whether or not to go the HRT route or research what my options are. I am not a 100% sure how any of this impacts on my riding fitness or ability to train properly, but plan on finding out this week.
My week of training was very mild as I had a bit of a tummy bug on Monday and Tuesday. My legs felt like lead on Wednesday through to Friday. Thankfully I did manage a decent ride on Sunday though. A double loop of the Cradle MTB Trail, which is 58km of purely undulating singletrack (very little chance for recovery). I had a quick stop after Lap 1 to replenish my bottle with Biogen Cytogen and munch a boiled baby potato; and then another short picnic with about 10km to go. The one vital thing I learnt on this training ride, was that I need to drink a little more in the first hour, even though I am not thirsty. Mental note made!
Monday: REST Day with Pilates
Tuesday: Sick Day
Wednesday: 18,62km, 1hr35min CLAW Beginner group ride at Cradle Moon
Thursday: 26,12, 1hr1min Power Lab Session
Friday: 6,65km, 34min Singletrack Session at PWC Bike Park
Saturday: 18.84km, 1hr30min CLAW Beginner Ride at Northern Farm
Sunday: 58.04km, 3hr27min 2 X Cradle MTB Loop
Total distance: 128.2km
Total time: 8hrs09min
Limited entries are still available for Wine@Whales Pinotage and Shiraz, https://wines2whales.com/riders/entry-information